Take Him As You Find Him

By Lisa Fitts
By Herbert Yoo
By Cymone Canada
By Dave Grogan
By Arnie Fenton
By Dan Millner
By Alex Joseph
By Samantha Harton
By Bailey Catone
By Colin Campbell
By Barb Harris
By Mark Mercer
By Sereena Bexley
By Vennecia Jackson
By Mary Lata Thottukadavil
By Michael Agnew
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By Caroline Smiley
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Jessie Yearwood
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Jim Henry
By Kevin Harwood
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Kevin Dial
By Corbin Pierce
By Claire St. Amant
By Julie K. Rhodes
By Anonymous
By Jasmine Bibbs
By Debra Fournerat
By Kat Armstrong
By Jeffery Link
By Courtney Faucett
By Lenae Moore
By Tiffany Stein
By Andy Webb
By Catherine Boyle
By Catherine & Elizabeth Downing
By Gerald Ridgway
By Jill Hoenig
By Sunitha John
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

Have you taken Jesus as you find him today?

The Christmas season swells with anticipation of a Big Day. It’s a grand-finale season, as steady marching-towards-a-climax season, a season of build-up. It has culmination — a baby wrapped in light — and I think culmination is something we   love because it means there’s a plot to things, an ending, like someone is in charge somewhere with a clipboard.

But life mostly feels un-culminated, like the boring parts of a novel. Like today, maybe.

Speaking of novels, the great novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story entitled “Where Love Is, God Is,” which depicts the epitome of daily ordinariness. The story is about a humble cobbler who believes he’s heard that God will visit him the following day. The morning passes, and the cobbler is waiting for God to knock on his door, when he sees a friend outside shoveling snow. He invites him in for a warm drink. Later, through his tiny window, he observes a woman and her baby out in the street who are poorly dressed for the weather. He invites them in, gives them clothes, food and money. Later, he sees a boy try to steal money from an older lady. He intervenes and extends love and compassion to both. But God, as the cobbler expects him, never shows up. 

You can see where I’m headed with this. 

Today, likely, that long-term problem in your life will not be solved. Likely, today, you will not get that phone call that will validate all these years of waiting, or working, or wondering. Today, Jesus is probably outside your window wearing overalls, and he doesn’t have an answer for you. Yet. Will you take him as you find him?

I think we need to remember what the first Christmas really required of the people involved, because it surely didn’t feel like a culmination either. The first Christmas required everybody to accept mystery, to take God as they found him, not as they expected him to be. Mary delivers a son into the world — God? This baby, wailing from my body? And Joseph, leaning over, soothing the crying of his wife and son — this is God? And the shepherds in the field thunderstruck by the glory of angels descend on a cold manger scene they didn’t know was The Manger Scene, thinking — this is God? Lowlier than the very angels singing him down?

Christmas morning hasn’t always felt like a culmination or an answer. It was a cold, holy mystery. God on God’s terms. We accept the Baby Wrapped in Light so easily now, but do we accept the baby swaddled in dirty linen, the weird and mysterious ways God wants to bear himself out in our own lives today? How has God come incarnate to you today — in glory and revelation, or in the face of an elderly dad whose mind is far away? 

When I look around at the confusing, exhausting, mysterious people in my life, my first order of business should be to ask if God is inviting me to take him as is, embodied in those people. Even if that person is me, staring back at myself in a mirror. In Matthew 25, Jesus seems to suggest that he comes as these people on purpose — inconvenient, hard-to-recognize, confusing. But those who love him and know him, give him food when he is hungry, water when he is thirsty, and clothes when he is cold.

It’s hard to receive the given circumstances and people in our life as incarnations of Christ himself. To allow them to be what they are — and ultimately, really, to accept God as he is and how he wants to dwell with us as Emmanuel today. Maybe there’s a manger and a baby we never anticipated, but are invited to embrace. And maybe it looks like getting a cup of water for a child who’s been sick all night or being gentle with our own frenzied, bruised and tired selves.

O come, O come, little baby.  Ready us to take you as you are. Not tomorrow. Not on Christmas day, but on this holy day, this boring day.

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